Ministry Commmunication is Broken: Here’s How We’re Going to Fix It

One of my all-time favorite sketches on Saturday Night Live is with Kenan Thompson from 2008. In the sketch, he’s an analyst talking about the financial crisis that happened that year.

via GIPHY

The news anchor asks him how he’d solve the crisis. His response was, “Identify the problem, fix it. Identify another problem, fix it. Repeat until it’s all fixed.”

That may be an overly simple approach to problem solving, but it’s not wrong. You have to clearly identify a problem before you can fix it, of course.

What’s the problem?

Since 2015, we’ve talked with thousands of ministry leaders. We talk about all kinds of things, but primarily about their ministry challenges and how they’re trying to solve them.

One of the most common frustrations that we hear is how difficult it is for leaders to keep their people connected and in the loop. That challenge exists with volunteers and parents of kids or students, too.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard ministry leaders tell me that they sent multiple emails and texts and Facebook posts and Instagram stories and, still, had people say they didn’t see the announcement.

Just this week, my own children’s director emailed her volunteers to let them know about a change to the plan for Sunday morning. But because the communication tools she’s able to use aren’t designed for ministry, three people didn’t get the email. That’s three people that weren’t prepared and felt left out when Sunday morning came.

That’s a problem!

If it’s that hard to communicate critical information with a group of people, something’s broken! If the problem is consistent across every ministry leader and every ministry area, something is seriously broken!

What’s really the problem?

Every leader I’ve talked to has the same problem. They have usually tried multiple different tools, strategies, plans, and schemes to solve it.

The tools they have available aren’t designed for ministry leaders to communicate with volunteers and parents. They’re designed for marketing teams to create and send newsletters about seasonal sales. Or they’re designed for teachers to send alerts about homework. Or they’re designed to help brand managers to keep the attention of fans.

None of those things is the same as leading a ministry. None of them have the same relationship with their people.

So if the tools are built for other professions, it’s no surprise that ministry leaders are frustrated. You aren’t a marketer. You’re not a brand manager. You’re not a teacher, either.

As a ministry leader, you are a leader with followers who depend on you for guidance, preparation, vision, connection to mission, and as a conduit for connection to one another. Your people are voluntary co-laborers, not employees. They’re brothers and sisters who should be connected to you and to each other.

There is no communication tool or social media platform that helps ministry leaders like you do what you need to do when it comes to leading your people.

Identify the Problem, Fix It.

The problem is clear. Ministry leaders don’t have the right tools to connect with their people throughout the week, whether that’s volunteers or parents or students. Everything that exists was built for someone else, so ministry leaders are “making it work” with what they have. But none of it actually works that well.

So we’re going to fix it.

We’re building a communication tool that is specifically designed to meet the needs of ministry leaders. Its design is  based on the feedback we’ve heard from the thousands of leaders we’ve talked to.

It’s going to solve some of the main challenges that ministry leaders face in their communication that existing tools don’t solve. It will bring together email, text message alerts, and real time chat.

It will be safe with a layer of accountability for all participants. It will even have mobile apps for iOS and Android as options for engagement, but not as a requirement for participation.

It will be connected to your existing volunteer roster in your church management system. That means you’ll be able to communicate with the right people at the right time without all the export/import mess.

It will share the same space as your TrainedUp account. That means training and communication will happen in the same place, making it easier for your people to stay in the loop and up to date on everything they need to know.

It will replace your Mailchimp account, your Remind account, your GroupMe or Slack account, your ministry’s Facebook page, and your ChMS email merge. You won’t have to send the same message in 5 different places to try to get everyone to see it. It’ll all happen in one space.

It will let you do all the typical things you need to do in the 21st century, like share files, record and share videos, hold real time conversations, and, most importantly, search and share life-changing GIFs like the one from my favorite SNL skit above.

We’re calling it HuddleUp because that’s what teams do to get on the same page work work together. Whether you’re bringing your volunteer team together or teaming up with parents to be disciple-makers in their homes, HuddleUp will help you connect with your people like never before.

If you’re curious about HuddleUp and want to stay up-to-date on how development is going, you can join the waiting list here. We’re aiming to launch the beta privately to those on the waiting list by late Spring and roll out HuddleUp publicly this Summer. Stay tuned…